Photo taken by Chris. A Buddha in a buddy's garden.
I took up mindfulness because I experienced anxiety. Maybe depression too. But here’s the thing: tell me somebody who doesn’t? As far as I’m concerned, it’s in the design. So our task is to bring some friendly awareness to our disturbances. It’s an approach I’m trying. Maybe it's not be for you. I’m not making any claims. I’m just sharing what I feel in the hope that it is of some use to you.
The intention is to offer free meditations, free mindfulness exercises, and the practical wisdom of teachers, influencers, and practitioners who can help mindfulness make sense for you. If you're new to mindfulness meditation here's a practice to give you an experiential sense of what mindfulness meditation is about. It was recorded one afternoon whilst taking in the rugged beauty of the view from Glencoe Cove Park, here in beautiful Victoria, BC.
The meditation is taken from Finding Peace in a Frantic World. If you're looking for a wise, authentic, trusted guide to help you start cultivating a mindfulness practice, I highly recommend this book.
There is more right with you than wrong with you.
At my first mindfulness class, I was told ... from our point of view, as long as you are breathing, there is more right with you than wrong with you, no matter what the challenges you are facing. Challenges and difficulties are workable.
This is where we start, by reframing challenges and difficulties as workable. Of course, it might not seem like it in the full throes of what's unfolding. But they are. Sometimes it helps to repeat phrases such as ...
there is more right with this situation than wrong with this situation...
there is more right with me than wrong with me ...
there is more right with this person than wrong with this person ...
depending on the situation, context, or circumstance.
Try it. Try it when you think you might need it today. Try it with the small stuff. Try it as the unfolding moment you don't want to unfold starts unfolding! Then, when it does start, maybe you'll have a better chance of being ready for it. Being ready to be with it. Being ready for the space you need. Repeating phrases, like a mantra, can help if it makes sense for you. So, when the kids start kicking off (because the kids can be totally relied upon to start kicking off - any minute now, methinks) you can say:
there is more right with this situation than wrong with this situation ...
there is more right with my kids than wrong with my kids.
It's an observable and felt truth. What's more, it's enlightening - even liberating - to know that the only thing stopping this workable reframe is your tricky mind. This is what mindfulness teaches us: that we have a tricky, sticky, storytelling mind. The neuroscientist, Rick Hanson, puts it like this ... your mind is like Velcro for bad thoughts and Teflon for good thoughts.
Being ‘already mindful’ means recognizing the tenacious velcro-ness of negativity when it starts to arise, then finding the capacity within to pause and feel your way towards a wiser response.
This moment is the moment we need mindfulness more than ever.
Seems like everybody is talking about 'waves'. Wave one, wave two, wave three. However, experience tells us that waves defy definition. They just arrive. Maybe we need to start being present with waves as they arise. Here's a helpful practice from Rick Hanson. It shows the workableness of riding waves during these new ways (or waves) of being we're experiencing now.
A mindful response to a momentous moment.
At the time of writing it's two weeks since a momentous week in America. Of course, at the time of writing, there is still mindless skulduggery afoot at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But it's impermanent, right?
I was stopped in my tracks by this response to the election count coming in. It comes from American news commentator, author, and lawyer, Van Jones. It made me think about how difficult it is (particularly, for men) to show up for our own vulnerability. To show up for who we already are. Whilst watching I found myself practicing the mindfulness exercise below. I’m grateful to the mindfulness teacher, Sean Fargo, for introducing it to me.
- how do my belly, chest, and head feel during this moment of watching/listening?
- what emotions are arising for me?
- how might my feelings be similar to other's feelings as they watch/ listen?
- how is my awareness of the topic Van Jones is talking about increased?
- how might I apply increased mindfulness to what he is saying?
That’s it, friend. Thanks for showing up. I know your attention is important to you. I'm grateful you placed it here.
Meantime, stay well … and be who you already are